How to Become a Graphic Designer In 2018

How to Become a Graphic Designer In 2018

– It has never been a better
time to be a creative. Hey everybody, this is Roberto
Blake of, helping you create
something awesome today. For those of you who are
not familiar with me, I have a background in
graphic design advertising, prior to building my own
digital marketing agency, Create Awesome Media, prior to all the stuff
you’ve seen on YouTube, I actually worked as a graphic designer. I did billboards in print, mostly around cable broadcast
networks through an agency in Midtown Manhattan. I also worked as an in-house
designer before that, in a company in corporate America, and also throughout the
years I did freelancing. And so, beyond that, now when I do graphic
design it’s usually for my own products and services and brand. But as, you know, an
owner of a digital agency, I actually hire quite a few designers. So, what I’m gonna do today
is I’m gonna be giving you perspective on how to
become a graphic designer. Not just from the perspective
of somebody who’s actually done it and lived that, not only talking about
the landscape of design and how it’s changed, but from a career perspective, what is it that makes the
difference between people that I hire and why? Because I think that
this is knowledge that people aren’t sharing with you. I think there are very few people that are in the hiring chair that are telling you what actually goes through their mind. I think you have a lot of
people who are telling you things that you may just want to hear. So, let me break it down. A lot of the information that’s out there, especially that comes from, say
like, traditional education, is great from a principals
and foundation stand point. But when it comes to landscape and design, you need to be looking at
people who are in the industry that are practitioners. You need to listen to people
who are at the agency level who run their own companies. You need to look at people
like my friend Chris Doe, who runs a YouTube
channel called The Future, and talks about his digital
agency, Blind Design in L.A. I think he gives you a lot of perspective, because they not only do
stuff with him and the staff, but they also talk to a lot
of other designers that are working in the industry. The Adobe YouTube channel
has a lot of great content around that so it offers some perspective. The reason that having that
information is so valuable is because you may not have
somebody that’s an actual real world practitioner
that you have access to, to be able to get answers from and so this could definitely help you. And I also want you to kind of, like, take in mind that not everybody
teaches graphic design in the same way. There are some people who
teach a lot about the theories and principles of design, but there are some people
who then focus more on the technical aspects in terms of software and the techniques that
go along with that. But a component that gets over
looked beyond your portfolio is how to present, how to pitch, how to sell yourself, how to market yourself effectively. And that’s going to make
the difference between getting a job, getting clients, or if you decide to sell products, you know, do that as a customer. There’s not a lot of
education around how to be a freelancer and build
a freelance business. There’s not a lot of
information about how to build your own company or business. And so, I feel like those
knowledge gaps are really lacking. And I feel like specifically how to market and brand yourself is
important for designers because it’s so much more
than building a portfolio, it’s so much more than having a website. There’s a component to
knowing how to negotiate. How to negotiate, whether
it’s for a salary, how to negotiate client fees, how to bill appropriately, what software you need to
do the invoicing and things of that nature. So I think that one of the
things you have to do if you want to be a graphic designer in 2018, is you have to really
look at the fact that it’s not the same, as the people who are a lot
of times talking to you. It’s not the same thing they experienced 10, 15, or 20 years ago. The game has changed. Being a designer is not
just about being creative, it’s not just about good typography, it’s not about having the 10
solid pieces in your portfolio, there’s a lot of it that has
to do with how you communicate to people. How do you talk about your work? You can’t show your work
and just let your work speak for itself. Those days are dead. The person who romanticizes
that will always lose to the person who is
very good at presenting and articulating and framing what they do, in the context of what relates the bottom line of the
business for the client, or for the employer. When I’m hiring people,
what stands out is when they can specifically tell
me about a vulnerability or a pain point that
they see in my business, and how what they do is going to benefit my business directly, or what problem it’s going to solve, or how they can add some
additional value to what I have, that I may have not even considered. That’s how people get hired. That’s how people win my business. If I have to guess or make assumptions about how your work
translates to what I do, it means you’ve failed in
the presentation process. When you’re doing your portfolio, you should probably have
a general portfolio, but you should have a portfolio when you’re going to a
specific job interview. You should understand what it
is that that employer does, and what they need, and your portfolio should have
been more tailored to that. And so, you have to
have a much more robust and broad body of work in
today’s competitive market. I know you’ve been told to niche down, niche down, niche down, but I think that those have
been taken out of context dramatically. I don’t think you understand, and I don’t even think some of
the people telling you that, understand what that actually looks like, so let me frame it from
an employer stand point about what you niching down, should look like in the
context of what I do. If you’re trying to get hired by me, what I want is, I want someone who can
do infographics for me. You’d have to show me a body of work that focuses on infographics
and examples of that, but also the supplemental elements that make for good infographics. And then, you have to be able
to communicate exactly how what you do translates
to my needs and wants as a business owner. This means you have to have
some general education, about things outside of design, and know how to present, and how to pitch. You would need to know what
I do as a business owner in the world of social media,
and marketing, and consulting. And you need to show me examples. You can’t just show me examples
of infographics in a very general way, you’d have to show me
examples of infographics that might be able to be applied
to what I’m trying to do, or the target market
that I’m trying to reach. You have to know who my clients
and customers kind of are from a profile standpoint, you have to understand that
you’re not just selling to the client or the employer, you’re selling to their
client or their customer. And so, because that’s what
they’re trying to sell. So you need to walk backwards from that. You need to be able to
demonstrate that value. Also, you’d be surprised, we don’t value specialists
as much as we used to, from an employer standpoint, because there are some things
you want a specialist for. In design and branding, it’s
actually more valuable to us to have someone who might be
a Jack or Jill of all trades and do you know why? It’s because, what matters more
to us than that specialized ninety, 95% master execution, I’d rather have someone
who’s an eighty, eighty five across the board at three or four things, because what I want, is
consistency and continuity. I don’t want to have to
hire a designer for this, a designer for this, and a designer for this, and then, as an art director, have to go through much more
effort to get them to have a unified style or to have
to deal with the fact that their stuff isn’t necessarily
compatible visually and that feels disjointed in my brand. Companies like Apple, win on consistency, and the behavioral psychology, and behavior of science principal called the Law of Pimpiquity, and the short version of that is, familiar good, unfamiliar bad. But if you don’t understand these things, if you don’t understand marketing, if you don’t understand
selling psychology, if you don’t understand
at some base level, how to leverage social media effectively, to have nuanced conversations, or to be able to do business development, or reach your target
ideal client or employer, or to use social media as
a listening tool to vet out what they are looking for. What their style is, communication wise. How they do and present their
visuals and their marketing and whether your abilities
and styles and your techniques could serve that purpose. If you don’t understand those things, it will be very difficult
for you to sell yourself to those people as a graphic designer. It’s so much more than
getting the right degree from the right school. It’s so much more than
having the right software and knowing how to use it, it’s so much more than
having 20 stellar pieces in your portfolio. There’s a level of
understanding the needs, the pain points and the
anxiety of the consumer, of the client, of the employer, and walking backwards and
reverse engineering that, and also having the presentation
and the sales personship to be able to really come forward and communicate your value to them, in a way that’s meaningful
to them and aligns with their business objectives and goals. Takes away that anxiety. Helps them make a confident
buying decision and investment in you. And so, if you want to be
a graphic designer in 2018, it’s not enough for you
to learn graphic design, be proficient at that,
master that one thing, you need to have general
knowledge of marketing, sales personship, you need
to understand social media, and more than anything, you need to get fundamentally skilled and nuanced at how you communicate,
and how you present, and how you market your own brand. Because it will make a big
difference in a world where people can Google you, in a world where people
can reach out on Twitter, in a world where people are
following you on Instagram, I guarantee you these are
things that a lot of people will not tell you. A lot of people
romanticizing the way it was 10 and 20 years ago, and guess what? People don’t use the Yellow Pages anymore. So, I would say, that being relevant, and knowing how to market
yourself in the world we actually live in, the world where the iPhone
has been around for a decade, probably matters. Yes, you need to understand the principals of graphic design. Yes, you need to know industry standards. You need to learn your tools, you need to learn the trade, and you need to learn all of the basics. And then, you need to learn how to sell. Learning how to market yourself
and learning how to sell is the difference between someone whose a successful professional, and somebody whose a very
talented starving artist. I hope you guys found this video helpful. If you want more videos that
cover the career aspects, the hiring aspects of
graphic design, freelancing, creative services as a whole, if you want more information
on some of the processes that I use within my own
business and how I relate to and work with other creatives, you know what, I’m open to your questions. Leave them in the comments
section of this video. In fact, question of the day. What is the biggest
struggle in your career as a creative professional right now? Is it the anxiety of
working for a bad boss? Is it not feeling like you
have ownership over your ideas? Lack of creative freedom. I would love to have some
conversations about that and the thing is, there’s
so many helpful people in this community, the
Create Awesome community, and if I can’t help you
and answer those questions in the comments, there are
a ton of people who can. I also would encourage you
to look at a couple other great graphic design
channels, like The Future, hosted by my friend Chris
Doe, at Blind Design, L.A. And also check out graphic
designers Will Paterson, and also I would encourage
you to check out the work of Justin Sealy, and look at
what’s going on over on the Adobe YouTube channel. I’m gonna link all that stuff up for you, but I think that you guys would get a lot of value from that. Like this video if you like it. Don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other awesome
stuff on the channel. As always you guys, thanks
so very much for watching, and don’t forget, go out there and create
something awesome today. Take care.

100 thoughts on “How to Become a Graphic Designer In 2018

  1. I agree what a lot of what you said. Communication as a Graphic Designer is key, in fact, in many ways the term "graphic designer" simply does not sum up what we do anymore. Design is essentially leverage over the perception of others. We hold the key to influencing a decision made through visually communicating a solution. Rarely will you find a job nowdays that focuses on a "graphic design" role because to be honest, anyone can learn and apply this. It's defining a user experience, communicating a specific need and visually representing a solution that will make you that cut above the rest.

  2. Amazing advice as always! I become a freelancer last year and these are things that I'm realising that I need…and slowly learning! Thank you 🙂

  3. I struggle selling myself. I am still in school and I feel like I have a hard time putting ideas to words if I was trying to sell my work. Any ideas on how to overcome this?

  4. I've been a miserable sales rep for a few years now. Didn't realize how valuable it is until I found your channel. Thanks for another solid video

  5. Great video! I try to be a graphic designer but I struggle with one thing: I keep getting 'stuck' on steps. I want to make a perfect sketch/design but I keep wasting time on that part of the process. Instead of pushing through and making decisions, I seem to be struggling with making a sketch/idea.
    Also, I suck at planning…

    Any suggestions?

  6. I have some questions regarding creative services as a whole. I’m interested in web design and coding and I know graphic design is a must. What would be the best route for someone looking to shift into creative services? School? Online resources? Thanks

  7. Thanks for an awesome piece of content, its truly relevant today .Filling lot of gaps from traditional ideas and believes on Graphic design.
    Apart from being in your community which is a great idea but any free resource available!?
    Is there any strategic and methodical way to approach things like marketing oneself and brand, learning social media, sales person-ship with the right approach. Since there are lot of information on YouTube and it can get very scattered . Any particular sequence of videos that you would recommend that can help us develop our own brand?

  8. I think one of the reasons people don't leave the safety of their 9-5 job and jump into things like becoming and entrepreneur, or a freelancer and living on your own terms is the fear of failure. Get started people!

  9. I did design 2 years ago learning from YouTube now I'm older like in my 20s I want to be a graphic designer as a career and being a adult with special needs. Any advice

  10. If you are a designer in Hong Kong

    I’d say it’s the destination of human’s happiness and creativity

    Work around the clock for 90%of a year

    And low paid position

    Most designers in hk are absolutely freelance
    And rarely see them work in a company

    Because it’s usually only working in a newspaper or magazine company

  11. My biggest fear is actually putting my work out into the world. I have a decent body of work, but it terrifies me to create a website, get my work out on social media and leaving my work open for the world to see. I have been complimented on my work from friends, family, other students and my teachers, but I am hesitating to put my work out into the world.

  12. Hi Roberto – great video (as always, Awesome) – biggest struggle is aligning. I don't really know if graphic design is the missing link for me, but I'm stuck and bored with what I do at the 9 to 5. It will be the same for the next 5 – 10 years – no advancement, no more pay, higher and higher expectations to sell. Can I really continue to be "Clark Kent" (job unrelated to design/not creative/not using skills – but paying bills) and "Superman" (brand developer, digital marketing strategist, graphic designer – doesn't pay the bills)? Not selling me as the Superman because the Clark 9-5 drains my energy and takes up a lot of time. I need to figure out how to get around that.

  13. Thank you for the well-rounded information
    Well I am returning into the field, so much has change in just a short time. Being doing mostly social media management and logo design. But at times I doing video editing and reconstruction of old videos and pictures. My mayor obstáculo would say marketing and communicating effectively. But what I have always wanted to do is designing websites.

  14. Quick question. Isn't the Graphic Design field primarily in what economist call the “alternative work arrangements” or the “contingent workforce.” field? Basically, you have little to none of the benefits a full-time job has (minimum wage, heath insurance, overtime pay, paid sick leave, vacation time, at least the hope of forming a union, etc.) Also, it means someone can get rid of you for literally any reason at anytime meaning you could be facing financial hardships/homelessness even faster than many people already are; especially with tens of thousands in college loans that you can't declare bankruptcy on for any reason. I'm not asking what specifically Mr. Blake offers the people who work for him. I'm asking if the average Graphic Designer is a alternative work arrangement gig.

  15. Next year 2019 I graduate high school I want to go to college for this career graphic design has been my most favorite career since I was in Elementary School I want to work really hard so many hours to earn money and to stay rich all the time my entertainment invertor (video game designing or designer)

  16. Great video Roberto I am sending the link to my student a 17 year old Thai girl who wants to be a graphic designer and this is great free advice

  17. Thanks you're really charismatic! Actually I am going to apply to a university in March. And yes I always thought that portfolio matters most..but guess I'll have to learn how to market myself as well

  18. Thank you for all these info, Roberto!! My biggest strugle is the overwelming areas of design and chosing what is the most important basic info to learn! Kisses from Brazil!!

  19. I just started going to a magnet art school and i was considering graphic design as a career. We pick our classes in a couple months! These kind of videos help me make up my mind, thank you so much 😉

  20. I struggle with salesmanship and marketing myself as a brand and how to communicate my design to companies and clients

  21. The stuff you think is new, isn't. Colleges were teaching personal branding, marketing, and strong communication skills 15 years ago when I graduated.

  22. So basically we need to learn everything about the company we are applying to and make sure what we do is Relevant to there needs.

  23. Idk if you addressed this many times before but for people who have a form of disability that can greatly hinder them as a designer (prime example colorblindness) is it something that the person must accept that they won't be the designer they are capable of being or more so it just they can become a designer but the road would be much harder for them.

  24. I'm turning 16 and I really want to become a graphic designer, pretty skilled but I got so much years to go and I need to start making money to support my fam and my self😭

  25. Roberto, thanks for this opportunity i am a graphic designer but where i work as at now does not really deal much with designs, so for over a season now i havn't done any much work related to my field and i think am losing alot,
    and secondly character animation is something i had admire and love do in addition to the designing, so how do i go about realising these dreaming of one day animating my own charcter build from scratch…

  26. My biggest struggle is making the time to consistently work on my craft while maintaining a full-time job & keeping the house in order.

  27. honestly between this video and Chris Do's video on what he believes should be the Design Curriculum (which he broke down into 3 categories: Design, Entrepreneurship and Marketing). I am beginning to understand the importance of communication and words. And often as creators we struggle with communication but I am happy you brought up some great points in a developing industry its not enough to just be an artist you have to evolve the same way these companies are evolving. Great Video ! I already have a list of communication, marketing, and business books I am looking at. I think it is also important to understand the psychology, sociology and philosophy behind behavioural patterns. from what I learned in my sociology degree it is showing me how helpful it can be to understand people in this industry. problem solving involves not only finding a solution but understanding the variables that contribute to the problem.

  28. Thank you for an awesome video! What graphic design software program would you suggest for the amateur designer? I have a $200-$300 budget- thanks again!

  29. I have been in sales for 15 years and all though I don't sell a product for business , blinds and shutters, I realize that most business owners want to be able to visualize how they are going to get a favorable conversion rate of sorts from the money they spend on marketing, example x amount of $ for every dollar they spend and if they can see an ROI and it doesn't seem like a long shot they'll do that deal all day long. That is probably the biggest factor in getting the sale.

  30. dope info. I kinda wanna get into graphic design more so for my beat business. Any good suggestions for adobe illustrator beginners

  31. I'm struggling to figure out what my style is. I'm just now comin into the world of graphic design (still learning how to draw well with illustrator). How were you able to figure out what you were going to create everytime you sat down?

  32. Hi, im a college student and im trying to figure out what field I want to go into. I enjoy making digital artwork, vectors, rasters, sprite art, I can also do video editing and sound editing. any advice guys. I'm just worried about picking the wrong field, How do I learn how to market myself, I do have some prints I want to sell but ive never done it before how do I get out there.

    edit: I also enjoy making tutorials, I need to update the ones on my channel to fit higher standards 🙂

  33. Just because you are a jack of all trades doesn't mean everyone needs to have these skills, the world has not changed dramatically, and there are masters out there who can still make a good living focusing on the things they do best.

  34. Great advice given in this video. I just want to say dont let the business aspect of being a designer out weigh the creative side of being a designer. One of the things Im struggling with is the whole business aspect of being a designer. I definitely understand the importance of good business and I am all for it. I just don't want the creative community to start to be defined by business. I feel as creatives we should set the industry standards.

  35. The toughest thing is realizing you do good work and trying to make the shift from full time corporate America job to starting your own freelance company.

  36. Thank you for posting this video. You really helped me with my career change from sales to digital sales to graphic designing. I hope one day I get the chance to meet you in person and maybe even work on a project with you

  37. I do really love the style of your videos and the how you explain it to make it easier to a newbie like to understand.
    I have a little question for you, and I apologize if it is a dumb one :
    When you work on a design (you as a freelancer, not working inside a big company) and provide that design to a customer who wants to lets say…print shirts or make business using that design. I red that you can decide how you wanna be paid, either a flat price or a price of the design plus comissions per item that person sells WITH YOUR DESIGN. (correct me please if i am wrong in this part) how can you actually track how many items this person is really selling with your design? how can i be sure he can say he is not selling anything with that design but under the table he is selling tens or hundreds of shirts of my design and he is just not being honest? or do i have to "trust in his solely word" without any phisycal proof or records?

    Thanks Roberto!


  38. What is your advice if you have no degree but have a wide range of design and creative experiences and would like to transition into doing deign work full-time?

  39. Hi i am in early 30's and am thinking of switching from an animation career to one in graphic design or related fields(web design, UI design). I am currently enrolled in a GD course in UDEMY which teaches you basic stuff like creating business cards, Magazine Ad, Logo design etc. Is this course enough to secure a job?
    I was also thinking that after finishing this course i take a proper diploma course in an accredited university somewhere. which specialises in one of the design areas(web/gd/UI/UX). Is this a good plan? Would appreciate your advice and love your videos!

  40. This is what I have been thinking a lot about. All sources are telling me to specialise but if I am freelancing I thing I would rather be good at a few things overall so I can apply and be applicable to as many jobs as possible. It is all well and good learning how to be a hammer but if the employer only needs to hit the one nail then your back out looking for jobs again pretty fast. In my opinion better to be a swiss army knife than a one trick pony. At least until your one trick is so damn good everyone wants a piece.

  41. Hi. I have a graphic design degree. I’ve been thinking about gaining more knowledge in marketing, especially after watching your video. Do you suggest to go get a degree or learn it on my own? Thank you.

  42. I'm 15 and my dad is a web designer I have found myself myself multiple times helping him with art on his websites and I would love to do this but it's hard to balance it with school…. please help

  43. Im worried now bc im not much of a sales person.
    I did learn from this video.
    In order to sale yourself well, it's good to know the company you're going for.
    That way you could better prepare a portfolio and solid reasonings to why they would need you.
    Finding the job for my skill sets might be a little tough though I think bc im mostly an illustrator; but I geuss I haven't looked out there hard enough.

  44. You’re a bad boy from watching your videos I realize I’ve been creating this whole time and have been a little doing graphic design as well. Im hungry for more thanks for the other channel recommendations Grind time

  45. That guy from LA of the Future Channel is not an artist!!! He is a marketer who likes to humilliate artists and designers because he doesnt know hot to draw!!! I think Roberto you should not talk about other guys that promotes Graphic Design and Web Design!!! You are an artist Roberto!!!

  46. I am having issues getting work in graphic designing. I have a website. I have a brand. I promote and market my work. I am a jack of all trades. I have done work in aviation, astronomy, physics, engineering, and I am an artist. I have certification in CAD designing. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Currently, my only issue is getting even freelanced work. I live in a city where creativity isn't that big and people really don't have money so I usually have to lower my rates. I do the local comic con and usually break even. I have applied almost everywhere and usually I only get is a no because "my degree or studies wasn't in graphic design".

  47. Thank your explanation on the world of graphic design today. I teach at a high school and they added graphic design to my list of electives to teach. I learn about graphic design from people who worked in the 60's and 70's. I definitely know that the working world of graphic design has changed, but I was not sure just how much has changed. Therefore, I thank you for your words.

  48. I think the biggest challenge for me as a freelancer is time management and organizing my work. Between working on projects, marketing, improving my skills, and blogging .. sometimes I'm not sure where to start.

  49. Great topic and i love your videos. My question is , if an employee can do all that , know marketing know selling why would they be applying for jobs instead of running there own business?

  50. I like what you're saying but your tone/way of speaking really grinds my gears. In your voice try only emphasizing the really important bits and not speak at a high intensity level thorough the whole thing.

  51. Brilliant video. Very helpful as I am learning how to be a GD. I'd love to see examples of works in portfolios 🙂

  52. Could you make a video rating the graphic design programs that you use the most, specifically adobe creative cloud programs? For someone who is somewhat of a novice at graphic design, which programs would you say are the most valuable to invest time in first?

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